Try me!

This little can seems to shout: Try me!  And to many out there I imagine the mere thought of bread in a can sounds crazy.  But, I have had this in the past and it IS A TREAT!!!  Sometimes the best things in life are a complete surprise, just as this bread was the first time I tried it.  Life has so many surprises in it that I can't even begin to make a list.  But, if I did, this little passage from the Psalms would be on it.  Read on to see what I mean.

Psalms 139:17-24 (WEB)
17) How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is their sum!
18) If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I wake up, I am still with you.
19) If only you, God, would kill the wicked. Get away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20) For they speak against you wickedly. Your enemies take your name in vain.
21) Yahweh, don’t I hate those who hate you? Am I not grieved with those who rise up against you?
22) I hate them with perfect hatred. They have become my enemies.
23) Search me, God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts.
24) See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psalms 139:17-24, WEB)

The Psalmist desires to know God and his thoughts and that is a wonderful thing; but to kill those he would classify as wicked?  Isn't hatred wrong?  Problem passage, perhaps?  But if God's word is truth (and of course it is) then the hearts of the misguided as well as those who are super-spiritual must be considered.  Whatever the condition of the speaker's heart, he felt it was right because he entreats God to "try me".  I like this passage because of its genuineness, its searching for God.  A person with a heart that really seeks after God will eventually turn from all hate and reach out to those who really need to seek after God.  I wish there were a lot more "try me's" in the world and a lot less hatred... we would all be better for it.


The intellgent among the intelligent

Not everyone is smart.  Most people are just "average"; whatever that means.  However, even the most average of the average have something above average about them.  Case in point is a young lady I know; she didn't do well in school (but did graduate high school) and if you talked to her, you went away with the impression that she was a bit of an "air head".  BUT, she could clean house better than anyone I have ever met and is a wonderful mother.  Today, with a world full of ladies who have other priorities than being a housewife, she is a shining star!!  Who says God doesn't know what he is doing?  Consider the following....

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (WEB)

18) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.
19) For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”
20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21) For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.
22) For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,
23) but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,
24) but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26) For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble;
27) but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;
28) and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are:
29) that no flesh should boast before God.
30) But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:
31) that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

People come up with all sorts of ideas, some good and others, well, junk.  No matter how smart you are and how confident you are right about everything, there will come a day when you will come face to face with your maker.  Then what?  Your intelligent design theories, your humanistic superiority and all the grandiose theoritical concepts you can muster will face one overwhelming fact; you are dead and have to answer for what you did in life.  Don't wait until its too late; do accept intelligent design, that is, God's design for your life.  You can read about it anytime... its in your BIBLE.


What will it do?

I wish I knew what kind of car this was because it is beautiful!!!  Very sleek and stylish and somehow I just know there is a very powerful motor under that hood.  I can imagine driving it very fast on a sea coast road with the hood down.  Too good to be true?  Maybe, but I guess I will never know (unless someone with very deep pockets just happens to feel generous).  How do you tell the great cars from the not-so-great?  One way is to drive them.  Christianity is like that too; its not just something that looks good, its something you do because its who you are.  Consider this passage from the book of Philippians. 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (WEB)
1) I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom:
2) preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
3) For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
4) and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
5) But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
 (2 Timothy 4:1-5, WEB)

Timothy was not a charismatic person, he wasn't showy or powerful, but he was committed and Paul knew it.  Timothy just needed a little encouragement.  And it took!  Later in life Timothy became more and more outgoing and I was surprised to learn that he was killed while engaging in a march against idol worship.  He just didn't look the part, he lived it.  Perhaps that is a lesson we all could learn.  Its one thing to look attractive (like the car in the photo) and quite another to get busy and DO SOMETHING!  Although, I must confess, that somehow the phrase zoom, zoom keeps rattling around in my head.



My friend Bruce sent me this picture recently.  A very restful scene from Nova Scotia. I can almost imagine myself sitting in this gazebo whiling away the hours looking at all those beautiful flowers.  Nice place for a vacation; Bruce must have had a ball!!! Rest is a hard thing to come by because the reality of life is that we are all soooo busy that taking time to relax often just never gets on our agenda.  But spiritually, rest can be a reality....

Hebrews 4:1-11 (WEB)
1) Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest.
2) For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard.
3) For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4) For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day, “God rested on the seventh day from all his works;”
5) and in this place again, “They will not enter into my rest.”
6) Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news was before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience,
7) he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said), “Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
8) For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day.
9) There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10) For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.
11) Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.
 (Hebrews 4:1-11, WEB)

Rules and regulations are hard work.  Imagine trying to keep 413 of them?  This was the problem faced by the faithful Jew and no matter how hard he worked... sooner or later, he did something wrong.  The good news is that Grace solves the problem.  Jesus as high priest of a new covenant has done the work, now its up to us to follow him and receive mercy when we make mistakes.  To me, that means a relaxation better than any time spent in any gazebo, anytime, anywhere.  Rest accompanied by love is the very best thing I can possibly imagine.


More than a nice paint job

Now, this is one cool paint job.  As soon as I saw it, I was reminded of a book I read last year called "His Majesty's dragon".  I enjoyed it so much, that I read all the books in the series.  The dragon in the book was an awesome creature named Temeraire who was so big he could eat an entire cow at one meal.  Its hard for me not to think of another dragon which is found in the Scriptures, one who was as evil as Temeraire was good. 

Revelation 12:7-9 (WEB)
7) There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war.
8) They didn’t prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven.
9) The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

The dragon described in the Scriptures was evil and lost.  He will always lose because evil is weaker than goodness.  I really like the photo though and will try to remember Temeraire and not Satan when I look at the picture in the future.  If you have some time, read "His majesty's dragon", I think you might enjoy it.



This picture brought back memories.  My wife and I were on the trip home to New Jersey and we had a stopover in Florida.  It was late and we couldn't sleep, so we took a walk on the beach.  Even though it was winter, yet the air felt like May and the cool breeze made the walk delightful.  More than all this, there was that MOON!  So big and beautiful it was overpowering.  How big an impression did all this make on me; judge for yourself, its been over a decade since that walk.  The thing is... Christians are to be like that moon: luminaries.  The God of heaven shines on our hearts and we are never quite the same.  Jesus put it this way:

Matthew 5:14-16 (WEB)
14) You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden.
15) Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
16) Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Nothing you probably haven't heard before, but the more God affects you, the more others can see HIM in you.  That is exactly as it should be.  Something to think about the next time you see a full moon.  And, of course a trip to Florida couldn't hurt either!


The right way is....

Confusing isn't it?  And right now we aren't even moving!!  When I first saw this picture, I couldn't help but think of all the political ads on TV.  Everyone seems to bash their opponent and then at the very end say how good they are.  Who is kidding who?  Why would any honest person spend millions to get a job that pays less than $100,000?  Frankly, I don't know of any good reason, except for blatant stupidity.  However, there is one person I know I would vote for because of his track record.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (WEB)
6) For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.
 (Isaiah 9:6-7, WEB)

Jesus.  Why? Because his government is founded on justice and righteousness.  So, forget all those ads, vote every single incumbent out and think spiritually, you will be glad you did.  Personally, anyone running for office who does not have a high moral standard is someone I don't want in there.  Boy, am I glad for Jesus.  His sign is simple... I am the way, the truth and the life.  Forget all the other signs, you will get lost.


The rules

This picture adds another dimension to the excuse:"my dog ate my homework".  This xray might be real, but probably not.  However, whether real or manipulated, it does show the fact that things happen.  Problems occur and sometimes your homework does get lost, the keys misplaced, the check for the electric was never mailed or one of a thousand different problems just happen.  When problems occur, what do we do, how do we react?  Read on for an interesting little story...

Genesis 2:15-25 (WEB)

15) Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16) Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.”
18) Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
19) Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
20) The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him.
21) Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22) He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man.
23) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of Man.”
24) Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.
25) They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3:1-19 (WEB)

1) Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’”
2) The woman said to the serpent, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat,
3) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4) The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die,
5) for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6) When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.
7) The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8) They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.
9) Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10) The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
11) God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12) The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13) Yahweh God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14) Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
15) I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”
16) To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bear children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17) To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18) It will yield thorns and thistles to you; and you will eat the herb of the field.
19) By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

God made man and his wife, gave them a nice place to live and rules.  You know, do this, don't do that.  Seems simple enough, but sometimes even simplicity can be twisted.  Which is exactly what Satan (the serpent) did.  Adam and Eve didn't obey the rules and paid for it and there you go, we have life as we know it today.  No, there wasn't a dog who ate their homework, but there was trickery, deception and outright lying.  Just think of what life could have been like if only they had obeyed the rules.  Probably a lot better that what we have today. 



If nothing is written in stone, why write this in stone?  Emphasis, probably.  But the fact that writing something in stone signifies permanence and if change is an unchanging factor in life... then go ahead, write all you want.  Things WILL CHANGE!!!  The Bible talks about things written in stone and one of the passages I like is found in the book of second Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 3
1) Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as do some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
2) You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3) being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.
4) Such confidence we have through Christ toward God;
5) not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God;
6) who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7) But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face; which was passing away:
8) won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory?
(2 Corinthians 3:1-8, WEB)

Obviously, there is a reference here to the Sinaic commandments (ten commandments) compared to the gift of the Spirit found under the NEW COVENANT.  The rules under the old covenant are inflexible, unchanging, but those under the new covenant are full of life.  I don't know about you, but I like the idea of vibrant, flexible, life giving rules.  While hard and fast, written in stone rules may appeal to some, still when problems occur, I like the idea that God can be flexible with me.  I hope that little idea NEVER CHANGES.


Good things in small packages

What makes people make Bibles like this, anyway?  They are so small there seems to be no practical value in them, but nonetheless, from time to time I continue to see things like this.  My best guess is that they are really just symbols (because the print is often too small to read without a powerful magnifier) and their real value is that they remind the owner of what they already know of the Bible.  So, the real importance of Bibles like this becomes a matter of faith.  That God can work though even such a small thing has a parallel in the Gospels and the passage I chose comes from the book of Mark.

Mark 4:26-32 (WEB)
26) He said, “The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth,
27) and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn’t know how.
28) For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
29) But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30) He said, “How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it?
31) It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth,
32) yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow.”
 (Mark 4:26-32, WEB)

The Kingdom of God is a recurring theme in the Gospels.  I like to think of it a the reign or domain of God's power. The power of the kingdom is God's word and whether the word be large or extremely small, it is of great power.  When coupled with faith within the human heart it becomes a very great thing indeed.  So, its not the size of the seed (The Bible) that counts, but its power.   While the Bible in the picture is cute and quite intriguing, I still prefer to use one that has print big enough to read; I am just funny that way.